Anti-Exxon Attorneys Suffer Setback Amid Rash Of Legal Defeats

REUTERS/Mike Stone

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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San Francisco and Oakland cities fired a law firm representing them in their lawsuits targeting various oil companies for supposedly contributing to climate change. City officials hired the firm’s competitors as legal losses pileup.

Hagens Berman represented both cities in their legal pursuits against Exxon Mobil and other oil companies. City officials switched representation Friday to Sher Edling after the Washington-based legal team’s anti-oil effort suffered multiple losses in federal court.

One of Hagens’ attorneys, Matt Pawa, led a lawsuit in 2008 that blamed energy companies for flooding caused by climate change. The case was ultimately dismissed after a federal court ruled that the legislative branch is responsible for tackling climate policies. The loss did not stop him.

The cases in San Francisco and Oakland were dismissed in July, and now they have decided to switch firms for their appeal.

Protesters march to urge politicians to act against climate change, in Paris, France, October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Hagens Berman stood to rake in a big payday if the cases were successful. The plaintiff’s firm stood to earn billions of dollars from its climate lawsuits with San Francisco, Oakland and New York City. (RELATED: Trial Lawyers Are Behind The Latest Climate Lawsuit Against Big Oil — For A Fee, Of Course)

The firm’s fee is 23.5 percent of any winnings from its cases with San Francisco and Oakland. As of March, New York City had yet to negotiate its fee with Hagens Berman, but the city’s suit claims the “cost of needed resiliency projects runs to many billions of dollars.”

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